'US defeat in Syria would be end of US hegemony in Middle East'
Earlier, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US no longer sees Syria’s foreign-based National Council as a leading opposition force, due to its lack of support on the ground.
The Syrian opposition consists of various rebel militias, many of which have been infiltrated by radical Islamists linked to Al-Qaeda.
A new 51 member "National Initiative Council" is due to be unveiled in Doha next week, and will include only 15 seats for the SNC.
Meanwhile, the SNC is planning to base itself inside Syria, in an attempt to prove its relevance to skeptical international backers. But as Eric Draitser told RT, these efforts may be too little too late to fit into US plans for the region.
RT:Washington's already suggesting names to represent a new opposition leadership, with the Syrian National Council to have just a few seats – why this shift now?
Eric Draitser: First and foremost I think it represents the manufactured nature of the opposition or at least the political opposition that we see in the public sphere. The Syrian national council and other leadership there, they never had any legitimacy among the Syrian people. They merely had legitimacy within the ruling class circles of the west. But what’s happened in recent months as the offensive from the Syrian military has developed, is that they have no real backing on the ground – that is to say the manufactured opposition. And so the United States, in their imperialist project to destroy the independent nation of Syria, has to find another way. And so a shakeup of the opposition with new “leaders” emerging…this is the US strategy. One that is doomed to fail.
RT:Doesn't Washington risk being accused of controlling events from the outside, rather than Syrians deciding things for themselves?
ED: Certainly it does run that risk. However I think the United States, the Obama Administration, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and the other major players, I think they’ve taken the calculated decision that it is worth the risk if it means they can salvage the Syria operation. We have to remember the US adventure in Syria ending in defeat would be the end of US hegemony in the Middle East. If they’re unable to continue their march from Syria, that means their attempt to destroy Iran is unlikely to evolve. That means that their stranglehold over the Persian Gulf and the oil resources is weakening so they’re putting all their cards on the table and all their chips in the pot when it comes to Syria.
RT:In an attempt to prove its relevance, the exiled opposition group has said it will move to Syria. But that might not be enough to save its credibility – could the major western-backed shift in the opposition help change anything on the ground?
ED: Well what’s interesting about the development of the SNC moving into Syria is that the propaganda line from CNN and the western corporate media is that this is to prove their relevance and legitimacy. But what I’m hearing from my sources and from independent sourcse around the world, this is because Turkey has grown tired of basing the FSA and so theyre pushing them and prodding and encouraging them to enter into Syria because it seems that turkey is looking for any way to disengage from this conflict once they’ve seen the writing on the wall that this would be the end of modern Turkey.
RT:Washington has revealed plans to hand more political power to major figures fighting on the frontline, but says extremists should NOT 'hijack' the Syrian revolution. Doesn't its latest policy make that more likely?
ED: Sure! And we shouldn’t be taken in by the rhetoric of the Syrian opposition. The manufactured opposition has been riddled with Al Qaeda and other forms of extremists, many of them imported from the imperialist war against Libya directly into Syria. So when they say on one hand that they don’t want to arm the extremist elements, on the other hand it is the same extremist elements that were imported by the US and Qatar and Saudi Arabia. So they’re talking out of both sides of their mouth. But the reality is they’re arming the opposition, arming extremists, because they want chaos in Syria. That is the only way to get military intervention and move forward with the imperialist project.
RT:Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has warned that the violence in Syria could spread terror throughout the Middle East, and that ousting Assad's government would lead to more bloodshed. Why do you think some western states don't share his views?
ED: It’s not that they don’t share the view. I think it’s an objective fact that Alawites and Shias and Armenians and Jews and Christians, would all be slaughtered under an al qaeda regime. This is an objective fact. What’s not being recognized by the west is that the attempt to destroy Syria has stalled and ended. The rhetoric from Moscow has always been the same – defend human rights, defend territorial sovereignty and the norms of international relations. But what we see time and time again is that the United States is not interested in that. The us is interested in the singular goal of the destruction of Syria with the longterm project of destroying Iran so it makes sense that any attempt to reconstitute the opposition would be in the interest in the US and the Obama administration, which is going to be the one that suffers politically from all of this.